I have the dearest, sweetest mother-in-law you could ever find. Our relationship is one that I value and cherish more each and every year. Recently while on a visit with her, I noticed that she was gossiping quite a bit. This was not like her at all. Over the course of the evening, it seemed that the gossip worsened. I finally had enough and I confronted her.
The moment that the accusation left my lips, I knew I had crossed over a sacred mother-in-law, daughter-in-law line that should never be crossed. She defended herself, and I awkwardly tried to explain my reasons of dislike toward her behavior. The rest of the visit she was quiet and stayed to herself. When I got home, I tried to forget about the incident. That lasted about five minutes.
All I could think about was how much I offended someone I admired and loved so much. “Did I pray before confronting her?” I asked myself. Of course I didn’t. “Did I come to her in love with my concern?” The answer was no again. I felt horrible and I could not focus on anything, especially my time with God. I even caught myself in gossip twice the following week. The verse “Judge not, lest you be judged” quickly came to mind.
God kept reminding me that before I could have peace, I needed to get things straightened out with my mother-in-law. I fearfully waited a full week and made the call. This time I spoke with her in love, and I was in prayer for days before my first word was spoken. I apologized for judging her and her actions. I confessed that I too struggle with gossip at times.
Then, I told her how much I love and respect her. I didn’t have to wait one second for her beautiful act of forgiveness. What a peace came over me! She even acknowledged her sin and said she needed to work on this area of her life. I could have easily let this go, but the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me. I thank God for this humbling experience, which has helped me grow and taught me to consistently pray before I speak.
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
-Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV)
“My precious, forgiving Father, I thank You for loving me despite my sin. I give You praise as You allow me to experience unpleasant situations that eventually lead to growth and obedience. Lord, help me to overcome the sin of…”